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Bihar has sought govt’s help to set up chemo units

Bihar has sought the Centre’s assistance for setting up chemotherapy units in Patna, Gaya, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Bhagalpur and Purnia under the National Health Mission, health minister Mangal Pandey said on Sunday. “A detailed proposal along with the cost of main and allied units has been dispatched.”

Around 50,000-60,000 cases of cancer are reported annually in the state. Ashok Ghosh, who also heads the research division of Patna’s Mahavir Cancer Institute, said 24,000-25,000 new cases of cancer are reported at the institute on an average every year.

“Apart from known carcinogenic substances like tobacco, gutkha, etc, growing contamination of water and prevalence of pesticides and insecticides in the food chain are other major factors for the rise in cancer cases,” said Ghosh. He added air pollution is also contributing to the rise.

Pandey said they have launched a preliminary screening and awareness drive against cancer in 14 districts. “We are taking help of Tata Memorial Hospital, Muzaffarpur, primarily for detection of mouth, breast and uterus cancers.”

He cited the 2020 National Cancer Registry Programme Report and added it said 104,000 people in Bihar suffered from cancer. “The health department has undertaken a door-to-door drive for screening of cancer among people above 30 across the state under the national programme for prevention and control of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases and stroke,” said Pandey.

Pandey said over 1.5 million people have been screened for the mouth, 689,000 for breast and 329,000 for uterus cancers over the last four years. “A specialised cancer unit of the Indira Gandhi Medical Institute of Medical Sciences has been opened at the cost of 138 crore to treat the cancer patients apart from other hospitals like Homi Bhabha Cancer Research Institute, Muzaffarpur, and Mahavir Cancer Institute, Patna.” Hindustan Times

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